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Aerobic biodegradation potential of photoprocessing wastewaters

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Currently, over 99% of all photoprocessing laboratories in the U.S. discharge directly to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) after using various recovery methods. The purpose of this research was to investigate any potential adverse effects of photoprocessing effluents on the activated sludge process. Effluents from two commonly used photoprocesses were tested. These effluents were simulated in the laboratory and fed to fill-and-draw activated sludge reactors at loading levels less than or equal to 20% by volume along with a synthetic base feed. Conventional wastewater treatment parameters along with major photoeffluent constituents, such as ethylene diamine tetraacetate (EDTA), sulfur, and nitrogen species, were monitored. Results indicate that EDTA was recalcitrant and accounted for a significant fraction of the effluent COD. A significant fraction of the reduced sulfur species were oxidized to sulfate resulting in alkalinity consumption and a pH reduction. All activated sludge reactors showed a decrease in influent ammonia concentration and production of nitrate or nitrite. Up to 61% photoeffluent COD removal was achieved by the fill-and-draw activated sludge reactors. Such results demonstrate the potential of aerobic biological processes in the treatment of photoprocessing wastewaters and warrant further study.
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Keywords: EDTA; activated sludge; biodegradability; nitrogen; photoprocessing; sulfur

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1994-05-01

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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